Northern Saw-whet Owl

Aegolius acadicus

Order

STRIGIFORMES

Family

Barn Owls and Typical Owls (Tytonidae and Strigidae)

Code 4

NSWO

Code 6

AEGACA

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Northern Saw-whet Owl has a large range, estimated globally at 5,700,000 square kilometers. Native to North America, El Salvador, and Guatemala, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical forest and temperate desert ecosystems, though it can reside in urban areas. The global population of this bird is estimated at 200,000 to 600,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Northern Saw-whet Owl is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Northern Saw-whet Owl: Small, large headed owl, brown upperparts, white underparts with thick brown stripes. Head has gray facial disk with white "Y” between eyes; lacks ear tufts. Bill is dark. Wings are brown with white spots. White undertail coverts. Direct, silent flight with fluttering wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Northern Saw-whet Owl: Found from the southern coast of Alaska and across southern Canada to northern and central Mexico, but is absent from the southern U.S.; migrate to southern parts of range during winter, especially when food is scarce. Preferred habitats include dense coniferous or mixed hardwood forests.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"hoop", "skiew", "swEE"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Northern Saw-whet Owl is also called Acadian Owl, Blind Owl, Kirkland's Owl, the Saw-filer, Sparrow Owl, White-fronted Owl, Farmland Owl, Little Nightbird, Queen Charlotte Owl, and the Whet-saw Owl.
  • When prey is plentiful, they will kill up to 6 mice in rapid succession, without consuming any of them. The excess food is cached in a safe place and, in winter, is thawed out later by "brooding" the frozen carcass. When food is plentiful, it is common for only the head of each prey to be eaten.
  • When threatened, they elongate their body in order to appear like a tree branch, often bringing one wing around to the front of their body.
  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Northern Saw-whet Owl

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X